TILLOTSON’S Fiction Bureau was created in the 1870s when the Leigh Journal’s creator, WF Tillotson, wrote letters to authors inviting them to syndicate their stories in newspapers.

This meant that the authors were paid for their stories by Tillotsons which then sold them on to other newspapers including those published in America.

Many of the replies to these letters can be viewed at Bolton Museum.

Numerous famous authors wrote for the bureau, including Thomas Hardy, Wilkie Collins, HG Wells, Arthur Conan Doyle, E Nesbit, George Bernard Shaw and Arnold Bennett.

In 1889 Tillotsons commissioned a story written by Thomas Hardy.

However it was rejected on the grounds of blasphemy and obscenity – the book turned out to be Tess of the D’Urbervilles.